Rabbit Fish Congee

Rabbit Fish Congee

The autumn weather turns chill, cool northern winds blowing tree leaves adrift.  This is a classic Cantonese type of congee, or rice porridge if you like, that infuses the wonderfully creamy soothing heat of rice porridge with the sweet tender meat of the rabbit fish.  You can, of course, use other fish but this particular combination is a classic dish that you can, if you’re lucky, still find in some of the grand ol’ Cantonese restaurants that carry on in traditional fashion.  Or, shucks, if you can’t find it, try making it at home, trust me it’s worth the effort!  Rabbit Fish Congee is an easy enough dish to make at home, it just needs a bit of time to cook down the rice and soon you’ll be slurping on a perfect dish of creamy fish congee, warming yourself from the tip top of your head right down to the bottom of your toes!


1/2 cup uncooked rice
3 cups water, plus 2-3 cups water
3 rabbit fish, or any kind of small non oily firm white fleshed fish
1 piece dried tangerine peel, approx 2″
2 tbsp pickled mustard Zha Cai 榨菜, minced
3 tbsp spring onions, sliced to rounds

Soak the dried tangerine peel in warm water until soft.  Scrape white pulp off and slice into slivers.  Clean and gut fish.

In small pot, throw in the rice, dried tangerine peel, pickled mustard and 3 cups water.  The water should fill no more than 1/3 of the pot.  Heat over medium high until boiling and turn down heat to gentle simmer for 45 mins at least until the rice grains break down and the porridge is thick and creamy.  Be sure to keep an eye on the pot when bringing to a boil as it will tend to boil over.  While cooking add additional water as necessary, one cup at a time, stirring occasionally.  Taste and add salt if necessary.
Slide the fish into congee and cook over low heat for 5 mins.  Remove fish onto a plate.  Ladle congee into bowls, place one fish per bowl, sprinkle spring onions over and serve hot, creamy and delicious!

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